From English-speaking doctors to affordable healthcare: Malaysia ranks 1st in healthcare category of global retirement index

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Malaysia has snatched the top spot in the healthcare category of International Living’s 2019 Global Retirement Index, mostly thanks to its affordable healthcare and well-trained medical staff.

According to the magazine – which provides information for expatriate living, retirement, investment and travel – there are 13 hospitals in Malaysia which are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), including four hospitals in Kuala Lumpur and two in Penang.

The Joint Commission International is a US-based healthcare accreditation organisation that is “considered the gold standard in healthcare assessment around the globe”, the magazine said.

These hospitals also have doctors who speak English, and are able to communicate with visitors or expatriates.

“In fact, most doctors were trained in the UK, US, or Australia so communicating is flawless,” the magazine said.

Another reason for Malaysia’s ranking could be that both private and public hospitals offer affordable healthcare to expatriates.

“The private hospitals tend to be a bit more expensive but are more up to Western standards than the public hospitals. Even at the private hospitals, the treatment is so affordable that for minor visits some people pay out of pocket,” International Living said.

“Prescriptions in Malaysia cost a fraction of what you pay at home,” it added.

In addition, it said Malaysia’s well-trained, informed medical staff also provide good service.

Another lauded feature in the country’s healthcare scene is that there’s no need for a referral or an appointment to see a specialist.

Malaysia scored 95 out of 100 points in the healthcare category of the index, which are calculated based on costs and quality of medical procedures in each country.

In the overall index of the world’s best place to retire in 2019, Malaysia ranked fifth out of 25 countries, and was also ranked among the top three in the categories of visa and residence, renting and healthy lifestyle.

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